Numbers instill a feeling for the lie of the land, and furnish grist for the mathematical mill that is the physicist's principal tool.

Addition and multiplication In our study of oscillating systems we shall have occasion to use one of the most remarkable, almost astounding, formulas in all of mathematics. From the physicist's point of view we could bring forth this formula in two minutes or so, and be done with it. But science is as much for intellectual enjoyment as for practical utility, so instead of just spending a few minutes, we shall surround the jewel by its proper setting in the grand design of that branch of mathematics called elementary algebra.